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SlideOScopes look like kaleidoscopes but use innovative optics to magically transform your favorite photographs and art. Read more

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SlideOScopes look like kaleidoscopes but use innovative optics to magically transform your favorite photographs and art.

About this project

In an age when few people print out their digital pictures, the SlideOScope is a fun return to a physical format that transcends photo albums in a magical way: it transforms the viewing of photographs into living, breathing, interactive experiences! It is a new visual paradigm that gives life to static images. By placing the images in a particular order, the SlideOScope can tell a story or show the passage of time. SlideOScopes are fully customizable. We have built special software that allows you to place your own favorite pictures in the SlideOScope.

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Introductory Video

Helping Kids Learn

The SlideOScope is a great learning tool for kids and for arts & crafts projects. With our software you can create your own special educational Inserts to teach your kids or you can get SlideOScope learning Inserts from us. Here are a few examples:

  • Coloring Books
  • Learning to Read
  • Mazes and Puzzles
  • Art and History
  • Physics and Biology
  • Mathematics and Geometry
  • Drawing and Art Work
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 Art & Education Video Overview

ART & SCIENCE KIT (Pledge $39: early bird $30)

The Art & Science Kit lets you have fun learning and solving puzzles with the SlideOScope, but first you can have fun assembling it with your kids!

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Maze Puzzle: Follow the Dot! (Near Bottom of Screen)

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 Learning Biology: Life-cycle of a Frog (also teaches reading skills!)

Children can also make abstract drawings that are as simple as scribbling with crayons on a piece of paper. When inserted into the SlideOScope Tube, these simple scribbles turn into works of abstract art that interact with the viewer in surprising ways!

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Crayon Scribbles

Reducing Stress

SlideOScopes make great desktop companions that relieve your stress and anxiety! When you hold your SlideOScope in your hands and interact with your favorite images of family, friends, and special moments, it brings about a sense of peace and tranquility. 

STAR CHART (Pledge $39)

SlideOScopes can be a nice way to teach kids where things are located in the night sky without a lot of extra, expensive gear. They can learn to identify bright stars/constellations and then the objects which are located near those objects. With our software, you can print out a custom SlideOScope Insert for a particular viewing time and location of a chosen celestial object. Once loaded, you hold up the SlideOScope against the sky and slide it through different magnifications to quickly direct your telescope onto the object's location. The SlideOScopic Star Chart uses a special red-colored light that does not interfere with your night vision.

BASIC PACKAGE (Pledge $45: early bird $35)

The Basic Package gets you a fully assembled SlideOScope that is preloaded with the "Butterfly to Infinity" experience shown below:

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Butterfly To Infinity (Images by NASA, JPL)

Kaleidoscopic

The SlideOScope can show abstract images like traditional kaleidoscopes (but even better!) Here is a wonderful SlideOScope experience based on the abstract artwork of artist Von Cotu:

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 Pyro Chemography by Von Cotu

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Dream Wave by Von Cotu

How the SlideOScope Works

On the outside, the SlideOScope looks like a kaleidoscope but works differently on the inside: you hold the SlideOScope in your hands and look into its opening with both eyes while sliding it apart like an old fashioned spy glass. Unlike the kaleidoscope or spy glass, several people can share the same SlideOScope experience while one person is holding it, since there is no need to hold it close to your face. The pre-distorted pictures reflect off a conic mirror within the Tube into the viewer's eyes. The reflected image constantly changes as the viewer moves the Tube with its images past the mirror. At certain Tube positions, each distorted picture becomes completely undistorted and looks like a normal photograph.

SlideOScope Exploded View
SlideOScope Exploded View
Close-up of Conic Mirror Optics
Close-up of Conic Mirror Optics
Butterfly Reflection
Butterfly Reflection

How Your Pledge Helps Us

Today we are ready for production, but right now, SlideOScopes are still expensive to build. We need your help to pay for the factory start-up costs that will make it truly affordable. Your pledge can get you a SlideOScope in advance of the general public and helps us launch this business in the best possible way!

SlideOScope Applications

SlideOScopes make great gifts for special occasions, showing images of special memories or events. Some common ones include: 

  • Images of a family vacation 
  • A favorite sporting activity 
  • Nature images 
  • Wedding party thank-you-gifts
  • Restaurant menus (daily specials)
  • Family reunions
  • Retirement and anniversary gifts
  • Promotional events
  • Gift shop post cards
  • Sports memorabilia
  • Old photographs and nostalgia.
  • Star Charts
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SlideOScope Uses

SlideOScope Sleeve Designs

You can choose between either modern or traditional Sleeve designs. These designs are embedded within a protective plastic cover. The Sleeve is used to guide the movement of the Tube.

Modern (Von Cotu) & Traditional (Cedar Wood) Designs
Modern (Von Cotu) & Traditional (Cedar Wood) Designs

 In addition to Modern and Veneer Sleeves, the highest grade SlideOScopes have Sleeves made in solid wood and other high performance materials such metal, ceramic, and carbon graphite.

SlideOScope Software

In addition to the SlideOScope hardware, we are making SlideOScope software that lets you assemble your own images together on your iPhone, iPad, and our website and then preview the experience on your screen and share it with your friends on Facebook and YouTube before printing it out!  A prototype of this software, written in the Wolfram Language, has been used here to display the different SlideOScope experiences on this Kickstarter. You can experience a preview of this software on our website.

THE ELEMENTS PACKAGE  (Pledge $75)

The Elements SlideOScope is based on the Theodore Gray's widely distributed, award winning, science book, poster, and iPad App (once personally demonstrated by Steve Jobs!):

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 The Elements: Theodore Gray

SlideOScope Inserts

The SlideOScope holds five pictures that have been pre-distorted and printed together on single sheet of standard-sized (8.5"x11" or A4) paper. You can either print these out for yourself or order one from us. This printed "Insert" goes inside an interchangeable "Tube" that moves in and out of the SlideOScope. By replacing a Tube + Insert with a different one in the SlideOScope, you can view an unlimited number of sets which you can develop or arrange or sequence yourself.

The Elements Insert  (Pledge $20: Place-mat set)

The Elements Insert (Theodore Gray)
The Elements Insert (Theodore Gray)

PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE PACKAGE (Pledge $99)

SlideOScopes can be used to show your "place in the universe!" Shown below, the SlideOScope starts out with an picture of your family or loved one and then moves out to a view of earth from outer space, next the moon, the sun, and then the view expands to our galaxy!

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Place in the Universe (Images by NASA, JPL)

RESTAURANT PACKAGE (Pledge $299)

Restaurants and Bars can use SlideOScopes to hold the daily specials menu at each table. In addition to the menu, the SlideOScope also holds a maze to entertain kids and adults alike while they wait for their food and drinks.

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Daily Menu and Maze Puzzle

WEDDING PACKAGE (Pledge $499 : $999 for Deluxe Package)

Weddings are one of the most exciting applications of the SlideOScope. Wedding couples can put photos of their most spectacular moments together and place SlideOScopes on tables at their wedding reception and banquet to share the images with guests.

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 Wedding Photos (Richard Heschberger Photography: The Behrends)

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 Wedding Photos (Ben and Louriz)

Further Examples

Here is a selection of SlideOScope experiences (generated by our SlideOScope preview software):

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 Family Vacation Photographs (The Barnharts)

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 Honeymoon Photographs (The Kellys)

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 Postcards: Amish Scenes (Richard Heschberger Photography)

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 Postcards of Nature (Jeff and Kathy Grant)

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Museum Postcards (Indianapolis Children's Museum)

You can preview many more SlideOScope experiences by visiting our website.

SlideOScopes With Text

The SlideOScope can also display text. This leads to a new realm of possibilites that include marriage proposals and restaurant menus. It can also include the passages of a poem or lyrics of a song.

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"Crazy Ones" Poem by Steve Jobs. Images by NASA and JPL.

SlideOScope History

The following images provide a brief pictorial history of the SlideOScope development. For most of my twenty five year career, I have designed very expensive optics for projects with very large budgets! However, it has long been a dream of mine to make something small and inexpensive that everyone can use and enjoy! Two years ago, I discovered the basic principles that make the SlideOScope work. Then I worked on its design for two years to get it ready for full production.

My office is located in an old carriage house that my grandfather built nearly a century ago! I used to make holograms there as a business so now I like to call it: my "Secret Holographic Laboratory!"
My office is located in an old carriage house that my grandfather built nearly a century ago! I used to make holograms there as a business so now I like to call it: my "Secret Holographic Laboratory!"
Page from original laboratory notebook showing SlideOScope discovery.
Page from original laboratory notebook showing SlideOScope discovery.
Original SlideOScope prototype
Original SlideOScope prototype
Collection of SlideOScope prototypes
Collection of SlideOScope prototypes

 SlideOScope Lighting System

A major challenge in the SlideOScope development was to create the best possible internal lighting system. Our latest SlideOScope uses a custom-designed, ultra-low-power, white-light LED circuit with a vibration sensor that switches on with a small disturbance and then switches back off after a minute of inaction. The LED is coupled into a tiny light pipe, located at the conic mirror apex, that evenly illuminates the SlideOScope Tube interior. With normal occasional use, the same batteries (3xAAA) can last for years! (Even after carrying the same SlideOScope around in my back-pack day after day, it has lasted for weeks!)

SlideOScope Lighting System
SlideOScope Lighting System
3-D printed light pipes that are broken up for each SlideOScope
3-D printed light pipes that are broken up for each SlideOScope

Final SlideOScope Assembly

Internal construction of latest SlideOScope
Internal construction of latest SlideOScope
Factory-made SlideOScope parts ready for assembly
Factory-made SlideOScope parts ready for assembly
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SlideOScopes With Wood Veneer Finish

Production Plan

After two years of development, we now have a plan in place to manufacture the SlideOScope. This plan includes the necessary vendors required to carry out the SlideOScope production and fulfillment. 

In particular, each SlideOScope contains 9 subassemblies: three are formed out of custom-shaped plastic, while three make up the SlideOScope lighting system, with one piece: the light pipe, actually being 3-D printed in production quantities! Two subassemblies: the Sleeve and Bottom Cap, are already stock items that can be purchased in bulk from Cleartec, a St Louis-based company. This leaves a custom-sized Tube subassembly that will be purpose-made for the SlideOScope.

More specifically, I will be relying on a local partner company, ShapeMaster in Ogden Illiniois, to produce the custom-shaped plastic components. In addition, ShapeMaster will be responsible for final assembly and SlideOScope fulfillment. I have chosen to use ShapeMaster for the final assembly and shipping since they regularly do this for other clients and have a process in place to manage it.  

The custom lighting circuit will be produced by another local company, ICS, International Control Services, in Decatur Illinois. One component, the light pipe, will initially be 3-D printed (via Shapeways) in 100-piece arrays that get broken up into separate elements. (Later, as the production ramps up, the light pipe may be injection molded instead.) The SlideOScope Tube will be produced by Western Container, a company located in Wisconsin. This leaves one final step, which is the metallization of the SlideOScope conic mirrors. This metallization will be carried out by RayVac near Chicago Illinois.

Final note: The higher end SlideOScopes use similar internal working components to the standard SlideOScope, but have purpose-built wooden and metallic parts for the exterior Sleeve and Tube. Their final assembly and fulfillment will still be carried out by ShapeMaster.

A rough time-line:

  • May: Kickstarter campaign
  • June: Receive funding. Begin manufacturing of sub-assemblies.
  • July: Continue manufacturing. Order prints for SlideOScope Inserts.
  • August: Finish manufacturing. Final SlideOScope assembly.
  • September - October: Ship rewards.

In parallel with the SlideOScope hardware fabrication, there will be ongoing development of the SlideOScope software for the iPhone, iPad, and website. However, the current prototype software is already sufficiently developed for the purposes of fulfilling the Kickstarter rewards.

SlideOScope Core Team

  • Donald Barnhart -- Inventor of the SlideOScope
  • Ken Cooley -- ShapeMaster Inc.
  • Tim Hoerr & Dennis Beard -- Serra Ventures
  • Wendy Thai -- Wendy Thai Patents
  • Lee Chassy -- Sales
  • RayVel -- Marketing
  • Ann Williamson -- Support
SlideOScopes Beside News-Gazette Article
SlideOScopes Beside News-Gazette Article

Special Thanks To:

Our Kickstarter video was produced by the News-Gazette (They also featured an article of our project in their newspaper!) Tom Welsh, Bob Owens, Andre Kuzniarek and Wolfram Research for contributing to the Kickstarter Video Production, Don Dodson and Heather Coit of the News-Gazette, The Indianapolis Children's Museum, Von Cotu, Richard Heschberger Photography, Jeff and Kathy Grant Photography, Loren Kirkwood, Images from NASA and JPL, RayVel, Amber Barnhart, Theodore Gray, Next Generation School, Dustin Kelly, Louriz & Ben Wojtowicz, Jonathon Manton, Tim Monaque, Tim Noice, Harry Noice, Andrew Janssen, Luc Barthelet, Samir Sayegh, Chris French, Andrew Singer, Brian Lilly, Ron Marusarz, Thomas Lewicki, Delaney Wallace, Jack Ross, Stephen Wolfram and family, my family, and to all of my mentors and supporters that helped make this a reality.

Risks and challenges

As with any Kickstarter project, there are risks inherent with funding something before it's been made. However, I'm very confident in my ability to execute the project within the given timeline.

The last two years have been spent preparing for this business launch. After a great deal of research and development, the SlideOScope design is ready for production and we have already started assembling SlideOScopes from factory-made parts.

In addition, we already have relationships in place with all of the necessary vendors needed for the full production of SlideOScope parts and final assembly. With one exception, all of our vendors are located in the midwestern United States, which makes distribution of parts less expensive and business arrangements much easier. The exception is a single vendor located in China: a factory that produces the vibration sensor used in the SlideOScope light. However, this vendor has also been very responsive and easy to work with as well.

After so much development, we have reduced the overall risks as much as possible. Our biggest challenge is determining how much production we need to accommodate. Our current production is based on vacuum molded plastic. This has far less start-up cost but greater on-going production costs. With sufficient demand, injection-molded plastic is better for high volume production but requires dramatically more up-front investment in tooling. The popularity of this Kickstarter will help us determine which way we should move forward.

The present production plan can comfortably accommodate approximately 2000 SlideOScopes. Here the main limiting factor is the custom-formed plastic production, which is currently produced from vacuum-formed plastic. However, if the Kickstarter demand for the SlideOScope greatly exceeds this volume, we will switch to an injection-molded plastic method of fabrication after fulfilling the first 2000 units. This switch may cause a delay of approximately 4-6 weeks in the fulfillment of the additional orders due to the time required to make the tooling for the injection molds. Note that the SlideOScope fulfillment order will follow the pledge order, but the pledge amount also influences fulfillment priority.

This is about getting the best possible SlideOScope into your hands ASAP. So please go back to the top of the page and pledge now.

Please consider pledging with us today rather than later because it helps us gather much needed momentum!

Thank you!

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

  • SlideOScopes use standard-sized (8.5x11 in or A4) paper to hold five different pictures at the same time. We call this an "Insert" because it gets inserted into the SlideOScope "Tube". We will be providing special software (for the iPhone, iPad, and on our website) that makes it easy to preview and print out your own Inserts. You can print your own Insert in minutes on a standard color ink-jet printer at home or print it through a local print service (such as Staples or Walgreens) or send us your images and we will assemble and print a SlideOScope Insert for you. We can also send a gift-wrapped SlideOScope with your pictures already installed to the person of your choice!

    Last updated:
  • The standard SlideOScope uses a purpose-designed interchangeable "Tube" to hold the SlideOScope pictures (called an "Insert"). At present the standard Tube is made from silver-coated heavy-duty cardboard, but we will offer a selection of colors and different materials in the future. You can keep your Inserts in separate Tubes for faster viewing or reuse the same Tube with different Inserts.

    Last updated:

Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    2 backers

    JOIN US -- Thanks for your contribution! Even if you aren't ready for a SlideOScope you can still drink the kool-aid with us and get updates about our project.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    1 backer

    ELEMENTS PLACE-MAT SET -- Twin laminated place mats made from "The Elements" Insert (pictured on the left), AND signed by author Theodore Gray and inventor Donald Barnhart. Domestic shipping included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    7 backers Limited (92 left of 99)

    EARLY BIRD KIT -- Our ART & SCIENCE KIT that lets you assemble your own SlideOScope: limited for early birds! Domestic shipping included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    3 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRD -- Our BASIC PACKAGE limited for early birds.
    Add $10 to your pledge for shipping costs ($5 within Illiniois but local pick-ups are free!)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    7 backers Limited (92 left of 99)

    EARLY BIRD -- Our BASIC PACKAGE that gets you an assembled SlideOScope: limited for early birds. Domestic shipping included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $39 or more

    4 backers

    ART & SCIENCE KIT -- Assemble your own SlideOScope from separate parts and then create your own Tube art on standard office paper, PLUS preview and print your own custom SlideOScope Inserts with our on-line tools. After assembly, you will end up with our BASIC PACKAGE! Domestic shipping included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $39 or more

    2 backers

    STAR CHART -- SlideOScope with special red-colored light source that does not interfere with your night vision, Plus preview and print your own star-chart Inserts with our on-line software. Once loaded, you hold up the SlideOScope against the sky and slide it through different magnifications to quickly direct your telescope onto the desired celestial object's location.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $45 or more

    11 backers

    BASIC PACKAGE -- Fully assembled standard SlideOScope with colorful printed sleeve art, PLUS collection of SlideOScope Inserts, PLUS preview and print your own custom SlideOScope Inserts with our on-line tools. Domestic shipping included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    9 backers

    THE ELEMENTS PACKAGE -- SlideOScope loaded with "The Elements" artwork along with Sleeve art of your choice: wood veneer (walnut, cedar, or birds-eye maple) or from a selection of colorful stock art work, PLUS collection of stock Inserts, PLUS preview and print your own custom SlideOScope Inserts with our on-line tools, PLUS 1 spare Tube. Domestic shipping included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $99 or more

    2 backers

    PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE -- Send us your favorite earth-born image and we will build a custom SlideOScope that shows your place in universe with the Earth-Moon-Sun-Galaxy sequence and your image in front, PLUS Sleeve art of your choice, PLUS collection of stock Inserts, PLUS preview and print your own Inserts with our on-line software, PLUS 2 spare Tubes. Domestic shipping included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $199 or more

    5 backers

    WOODEN SCOPE -- SlideOScope with solid wooden Sleeve and standard Tube, PLUS collection of stock Inserts, PLUS access to our software, PLUS send us your five favorite images and we will build and print a custom Insert for you on high quality paper, PLUS 3 spare Tubes. Domestic shipping included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $299 or more

    0 backers

    RESTAURANT PACKAGE -- Perfect for showing the "Feature-Of-The-Day" on each customer's table. Ten SlideOScopes with modern or traditional wood veneer Sleeves (walnut, cedar, oak, or birds-eye maple), PLUS access to special software that lets you create and print out your own daily menu with foods, drinks, restaurant info, and prices as a Tube Insert. Each SlideOScope is priced inexpensive enough that it can be replaced with a new one should it get damaged. Domestic shipping included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $399 or more

    1 backer

    BESPOKE SCOPE -- Work with us to design your own SlideOScope from a selection of high performance materials including Metal, Wood, Ceramic, and Carbon Graphite, PLUS collection of stock Inserts, PLUS access to our software, PLUS send us your favorite 25 images and we will create five Inserts on high quality paper. Expedited production and delivery in protective wooden box. Domestic and international shipping included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $499 or more

    1 backer

    WEDDING PACKAGE -- Perfect thank-you gifts: use as banquet-table center-pieces. Ten custom SlideOScopes: send us your favorite five images and we will create ten SlideOScopes with inserts of your images for your next (and hopefully last!) wedding! Domestic shipping included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $999 or more

    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    DELUXE WEDDING PACKAGE -- Ten solid wooden SlideOScopes with your choice of wood (walnut, cedar, oak, or birds-eye maple), PLUS send us your favorite 50 images and we will create ten SlideOScopes with 10 different Inserts of your images for your wedding! Perfect thank-you gifts: use as banquet-table center-pieces or during the reception to show a selection of your most spectacular moments. Domestic shipping included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,999 or more

    0 backers

    THE UNDERWRITER -- Here is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help us knock this project into orbit! This reward includes a BESPOKE SCOPE, PLUS a visit to Donald's secret holographic laboratory AND walk on prairie with inventor himself! (Travel expenses extra.)

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (30 days)